A poll of Ireland’s citizens indicates deep division over the rescue package the country has accepted from the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). In a survey published Saturday, when asked if they supported the bailout, 51% said they do, but 56% said that the country had surrendered its sovereignty in accepting it. According to a Reuters report, 68% believe that the budget passed on Wednesday is unfair, laden as it is with austerity measures.
Those responding to the poll indicated a belief that the Fine Gael party would form a coalition with the Labor party in an ouster of Fianna Fail, the ruling party that negotiated the bailout and devised the budget. Fine Gael has called for renegotiation of the bailout terms. That may not be possible, particularly since on Friday Moody’s slashed the nation’s credit rating by five notches, leaving it hovering near junk status.
The Irish aren’t the only ones feeling the pain of belt tightening. In Spain, unions marched Saturday against that country’s austerity measures, and threatened another general strike if plans to raise the retirement age were not abandoned. The government, as part of its austerity plan to avoid having to seek a bailout as Ireland did, intends to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67, a deeply unpopular idea.